As I sit upon my used Ektorp Ikea couch while one sad half-broken fan is struggling to keep me cool while I type, I implore you and myself to remember that August isn’t so bad. We had the Olympics to go crazy about – in fact I just discovered this week the hilarious/bewildering sport that is race-walking and wow, those hip movements would make Shakira wince! So yes it is indeed hot, tourists outnumber Italians but remember not everyone has this month off work even if it seems otherwise. I myself have been toiling away and me and t-man are escaping Satan’s 7th circle of hell (Florence on ferragosto) today. Where are we going? We are road-tripping from Italy to France with a good friend to visit his home-town in the south-west area (Toulouse) and then off for a mini-break just the two of us to the Basque country. Apparently I’m the only one who thinks it’s fun to drive 10 hours in August. We very much hope to avoid any bollino nero on the autostrada but whatever. I’ll be gone for 10 days so if I write less this week or two, you know why – that or I have been kidnapped by the Basque. That being said, I wouldn’t think to leave without sharing some interesting deals/events going on for the rest of this month. If you’re here in Florence – you should try these out. While eating watermelon and drinking beer. One of which is a special “summer” discount at the large Space cinema located in Novoli. For €4.50 from Monday – Friday you can see any (non 3D) movie you want, and on Monday the price comes down to €2.50 for one hot-film of the summer (details are on the link above). Pretty sweet if you ask me. Obviously they’re in Italian so use this opportunity to bask in the air-conditioning and work on your Italian language-listening skills. The Space Cinema Firenze Via di Novoli, 2 50127
If you happen to be in town this Wednesday (the famous Ferragosto holiday in Italy) remember this is one of the biggest holidays of the year. Expect everything to be closed except for the really touristy restaurants/etc. However, there will be a sand-castle building contest on the Easy Living beach on lungarno serristori which is pretty neat. If I was here, I would like to partake in some sand-sculpture debauchery. For details in Italian and if you want to participate – click here. Another idea is head out the door for an aperitivo (Italian happy hour) this fall I plan on writing a comprehensive list of great spots in Florence but this August here are my suggestions. First is an aperitivo at 7 pm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Hotel Il Salviatino, near Via Bolognese – absolutely stunning location. 10 euros for a glass of wine, 15 euros for a cocktail and some of the chef’s special delights until September 1. Another great choice is Rivalta cafe (ex Capocaccia & Noir) located on lungarno corsini by Ponte alle Grazie. They have a great selection of food and we liked the cocktails (range from 8-9 euros depending on what you choose). Last but not least is yet another addition of Aperitivo ad Arte this time featuring the Bargello Museum, one of my personal favorites. Starting on the 1st of August and continuing every Tuesday throughout October. A cocktail and art, what more could you want? Check out the room dedicated to Michelangelo and the current exhibit Fabulae Pictae Miti e storie nelle maioliche del Rinascimento. You can reserve a spot by calling this number +39055/294883. Price is €12. Also why not escape to Montepulciano for a wacky day-trip and watch some men barrel-race? I’m not kidding, this indeed is a strange annual tradition in the tiny, picturesque town. This year it’s on August 26th (a Sunday). Men push other men in wine-barrels – need I say more? All week there will be events leading up to the race (including wine-tasting) and this really is something I might try to attend if we come back in time. Details here. http://youtu.be/XdRzQsDl5l4 Suggestion number four, is go hiking! Some of my previous posts include me & my friend’s treks around Tuscany. Free, fun exercise is a great way to blow off some steam or just escape life for a few hours. Fiesole has a beautiful panoramic path that I have personally done many times. They even have free tours which you have to book ahead but I highly recommend doing so as they know their stuff. This brochure has all the details on whats available in English & Italian (surprise) so throw on some tennis shoes, grab the number 7 bus from Piazza San Marco & pack a picnic to eat while up there. They even have a pub in Fiesole, so treat yourself to a beer after all that hiking. Another good place to get some fresh air is one of my favorite parks, Villa Demidoff/ aka Pratolino park which can be reached by taking bus 25A Pratolino from Piazza San Marco. This summer they have organized guided tours every Thursday throughout August. You can get all of the details here. They also organize a few dinners, including a fish-based one on the 25th of August that you can attend, reserve by sending an email to email@example.com or call 055/5000458 or 339/8477788. Price is from 25 – 30€. For other foods events, I wrote a few weeks ago about summer sagre/food festivals that are going on this summer. These are just some of my ideas on how to spend the rest of August but I am sure there are even more events going on than I can remember. Just remember to drink a lot of water or beer, keep a sense of humor, and never-ever wear a safari-hat or carry an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun if you want to fit in locally. Buon Ferragosto a tutti!